It has become almost formulaic: Washington decides a foreign leader is a bad guy and must be removed from his post. Arms, troops, intelligence support, propaganda, and money are supplied to some group or groups opposed to the bad guy, and he’s taken out. The dream is the bad guy is replaced by a plurastic, democratic, rights-respecting government, but the dream remains just that: a dream. In practice, the successors to the bad guy are often worse than the bad guy, and often inimical to US “interests,” however the Washington gang defines “interests.” The probability is rising that this tragic farce will play out again in Syria. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:
If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets the same fate as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, much of Official Washington would rush out to some chic watering hole to celebrate – one more “bad guy” down, one more “regime change” notch on the belt. But the day after Damascus falls could mark the beginning of the end for the American Republic.
As Syria would descend into even bloodier chaos – with an Al-Qaeda affiliate or its more violent spin-off, the Islamic State, the only real powers left – the first instinct of American politicians and pundits would be to cast blame, most likely at President Barack Obama for not having intervened more aggressively earlier.
A favorite myth of Official Washington is that Syrian “moderates” would have prevailed if only Obama had bombed the Syrian military and provided sophisticated weapons to the rebels.
Though no such “moderate” rebel movement ever existed – at least not in any significant numbers – that reality is ignored by all the “smart people” of Washington. It is simply too good a talking point to surrender. The truth is that Obama was right when he told New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman in August 2014 that the notion of a “moderate” rebel force that could achieve much was “always … a fantasy.”
As much fun as the “who lost Syria” finger-pointing would be, it would soon give way to the horror of what would likely unfold in Syria with either Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front or the spin-off Islamic State in charge – or possibly a coalition of the two with Al-Qaeda using its new base to plot terror attacks on the West while the Islamic State engaged in its favorite pastime, those YouTube decapitations of infidels – Alawites, Shiites, Christians, even some descendants of the survivors from Turkey’s Armenian genocide a century ago who fled to Syria for safety.
Such a spectacle would be hard for the world to watch and there would be demands on President Obama or his successor to “do something.” But realistic options would be few, with a shattered and scattered Syrian army no longer a viable force capable of driving the terrorists from power.
The remaining option would be to send in the American military, perhaps with some European allies, to try to dislodge Al-Qaeda and/or the Islamic State. But the prospects for success would be slim. The goal of conquering Syria – and possibly re-conquering much of Iraq as well – would be costly, bloody and almost certainly futile.
To continue reading: After Damascus Falls